Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Indian Heatwaves, Floods Kill 11, with Four Buried Alive 

A supporter drinks water from a pipe at the end of the Kisan Samman Sammelan (farmer's honor conference) addressed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the outskirts of Varanasi on June 18, 2024 amid heatwave. (AFP)
A supporter drinks water from a pipe at the end of the Kisan Samman Sammelan (farmer's honor conference) addressed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the outskirts of Varanasi on June 18, 2024 amid heatwave. (AFP)
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Indian Heatwaves, Floods Kill 11, with Four Buried Alive 

A supporter drinks water from a pipe at the end of the Kisan Samman Sammelan (farmer's honor conference) addressed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the outskirts of Varanasi on June 18, 2024 amid heatwave. (AFP)
A supporter drinks water from a pipe at the end of the Kisan Samman Sammelan (farmer's honor conference) addressed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the outskirts of Varanasi on June 18, 2024 amid heatwave. (AFP)

India was battling on Wednesday extreme weather that caused severe heatwaves, landslides and floods, killing at least 11 people this week, among them a woman and her three daughters buried alive in a northeastern state, officials and media said. 

The capital, New Delhi, sweltered through its hottest night in six years on Tuesday, with hospitals in the city of 20 million reporting at least five deaths from heatstroke this week, the Times of India newspaper said. 

Floods and landslides triggered by incessant rain in the northeastern state of Assam killed at least six people on Tuesday night, officials said. 

"A landslide buried a woman and her three daughters alive," a state disaster management official, Siju Das, said by telephone. 

"Their house was on a slope, and they died on the spot around midnight," he said, adding that the bodies were retrieved after a three-hour search operation by rescuers. 

"A three-year-old was killed too." 

Billions across Asia are grappling with extreme heat this summer, in a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change. 

Since March, temperatures have soared to 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) in Delhi and the nearby desert state of Rajasthan, while more than twice the usual number of heatwave days were recorded this season in the country's northwest and east. 

These conditions stemmed from fewer thundershowers, as well as warm winds blowing in from neighboring arid regions. 

In Assam, more than 160,000 people were affected, with waters surpassing the danger level in the Kopili, one of the largest tributaries of the Brahmaputra, which ranks among India's biggest rivers. 

More than 30 people in the state have died since the end of May in floods and landslides brought by heavy rain, officials said. 



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Ukraine Seeking 'Common Ground' with China in Talks on Ending War with Russia

In this image taken from video released by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba, third from left holds talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)
In this image taken from video released by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba, third from left holds talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)
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Ukraine Seeking 'Common Ground' with China in Talks on Ending War with Russia

In this image taken from video released by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba, third from left holds talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)
In this image taken from video released by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba, third from left holds talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said he is seeking “common ground” in talks this week with his Chinese counterpart on ending his country's war with Russia.

Kuleba met Wednesday with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guangzhou, a major commercial and manufacturing center in southern China. It is the first visit to the country by a Ukrainian foreign minister since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has strained Ukraine's relations with China.

“I am convinced that a just peace in Ukraine is in China’s strategic interests, and China’s role as a global force for peace is important,” Kuleba said in opening remarks.

China has close ties with Russia and has pushed for an end to the war that would take into account the interests of both sides. That position has put it at odds not only with Ukraine but also Western European countries and the United States, which are demanding a Russian withdrawal as the basis for any settlement.

China did not participate in a peace conference in Switzerland last month that did not include Russia.
Kuleba was expected to lobby Chinese officials to attend another peace conference planned for sometime before the American presidential election in early November. His visit reflects a calculation that any peace deal favorable to Ukraine would likely be a non-starter without China on board.

Chinese officials maintained that the two countries have friendly and cooperative relations. Noting the growth in trade between them, Wang said in his opening remarks that ties have continued to develop normally “despite complex and ever-changing international and regional situations.”

Kuleba arrived in China on Tuesday and is scheduled to depart on Friday. In a video posted late Tuesday on his social media accounts, Kuleba said he would have extensive negotiations to look for common ground in the pursuit of peace in Ukraine.

“We need to move to a just and stable peace,” he said, according to a translation posted by Euromaiden Press, an English-language news site on Ukraine. “China can play a significant role in this. Let’s go," The Associated Press quoted him as saying.

His visit follows a rare public rebuke of China by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June. Zelenskyy accused China of helping Russia block countries from participating in the Swiss peace conference. China denied pressuring others.

It was the first time Zelenskyy had departed from careful attempts to court Beijing away from its strong relationship with Moscow.

China published a separate six-point peace plan with Brazil ahead of the conference. The move and the timing likely angered Ukrainian officials who were in the midst of seeking support for their peace proposal.

"We must avoid the competition of peace plans," Kuleba said in his social media video this week.